I am consistantly asked to explain what I do for a living. "What are these 'tours' you do? Do you drive people around town?
In some cases, yes. I do have a pretty decent knowledge of the history of the town, from the Civil War battlefields in Franklin, to the Music Row, and downtown areas. I've been here nearly 30 years, I AM PART OF THE HISTORY!
But in actuality, a "MAB TOUR" is a journey through the PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE, of the participant. They are totally interactive, and built around the person or persons I am working with. If anyone has an interest, even a passing one of how to write songs, perform songs, understanding networking, and the in's and out's of a very confusing business, I AM YOUR GUY.
There have been the 80 year old retired attorney, wanting to bring out his versions of karaoke songs, where he wrote his own lyrics. Can't exactly do that. Called "PLAGERISM!" The former sports athletes, who think music "looks easy" after their other careers wind down. Not even close.
Businessmen and women, who believe music is an ATM machine, where they put in their business experience, draw up a "plan" and you get X-amount of money back.
Over 40 housewives who might be beautiful, but have to come to the realization that they are not TAYLOR SWIFT, and the business is not going to embrace them, but they CAN have their own career, creating their own niche, or perhaps writing material for others. Teaming up with people to complete their dreams.
Some who want "legacy writing" to show their kids, or families what they have created, in recorded form. Some that want a "backstage look at the music industry, meeting hit writers, producers, artists, labels, publisher, the movers and shakers, or even more fun, people who created the songs they grew up with.
The time I sat with a woman from Chicago, who said "Do you ever meet stars on these tours?" I said "Nashville is a songwriting town, so the writers are more stars, and the artists are usually on tour. But would you like to meet one"
She said "Yes." Sitting in the booth next to me, was Weird Al Yankovic." "I introduced them.
Breakfast with Weird Al.
Of course there are the STAND OUTS. Those younger hot artists, and writers that really stand a chance. Most prominent would be Frankie Ballard, a young kid out of Michigan. who had a work ethic that allowed him to play 6 nights a week, leave a weekend gig, drive to Nashville, write three-four songs in a couple days, then drive back and start playing the night he got back.
Looked great, played great and a great attitude. Just needing a little writing skills and some ability to look at the inside of the business.
Eight years later, he has had three number one records. Did I do that? Of course not. Just one piece of a puzzle. I'd like to think I showed him a few things that helped him along.
And there are the PARENTS. People who want the best for their kids, but have been down the "contest road, the out of touch manager or promoter road, the "do I let them go to college or do we shell out $20,000 for their CD?" (HOLD ON!!!!)
And the "Road to Hell is paved with good intentions" pathway, where every body knows exactly what you should do..."
Fact or fiction? Probably a little of both, but you need to look at everything slowly.
Today I begin my third tour with BREEZY LOVE, and her MOTHER ROBIN, from Winetaka, Illinois. They have been coming down for a year now we write songs, based upon what Breezy who is 15 and limited life experiences, listen to the songs she has written, do critiques, performance evaluations, give her tips and tricks, work on her ennuncation (which is easier now that she got her braces off), and get her on the "playing field."
On a recent trip, we wrote "SMALL TOWN WITH A GREAT BIG HEART" Which is about her hometown, where they filmed such movies as VACATION, FERRIS BEULLER'S DAY OFF, and HOME ALONE. Perfect Americana.
Her last trip, we went over to my friend Bryan Cumming's Production 21 studios, where he put a ton of great instruments on it and turned out great, for a very reasonable fee. That turned into a very cool video and a great kick off to her career: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe2DE7MYl2I
They are back today and we will be going through more songs, and more adventures. I really enjoy seeing what she has learned, where she is. That is 'THE TOUR', get it?
So that is more or less what I do. Anyone with an interest in how the music business works and doesn't work, trying to find where they are in their development, parents looking for guidance on their kids, performers and writers (not always the same thing), who are trying to get a "level check" on where they really stand, I AM YOUR GUY. It's the truth, but delivered with love.
And it will ALWAYS MAKE YOU BETTER.
I inject REALITY INTO DREAMS. And sometimes that can be painful, but it can help you save money, and improve your skills and understanding.
And remember, my friend Art Wassem's saying:
"BEFORE YOU GET A ROYALTY CHECK
YOU MUST FIRST GET A REALITY CHECK."
Or what my friend James Rea, from THE PRODUCERS CHAIR said.
"It is not nesassary to know EVERYONE in Nashville.
You just need to know the one person who knows everyone in Nashville. MAB is that person.
For more info: www.marcalanbarnette.com